January 25, 2006
Anderson's Redemption Song

By Jeff Howe

 Hockey East Notebook

Matt Anderson's goal at UNH was his team-leading third game-winner of the season.

National TV Schedule

December 9, 2004, was one of those nights that UMass students, alumni and fans will never forget. The men’s basketball team pulled off one of the biggest shockers of the year by knocking off rival and defending national champion UConn, 61-59, in a last-second classic at a packed Mullins Center.

But roughly 130 miles away on that same night, just a few minutes before the tip-off of the historic basketball game, the UMass hockey team found itself on the opposite end of that emotional spectrum.

Matt Anderson, the team’s leading scorer, was hit hard along the Whittemore Center boards with just 10 minutes remaining in the game, which turned out to be a 4-0 New Hampshire victory. He suffered a horrible break in his right ankle, causing him to miss the rest of the season.

On Saturday night, Anderson made his return to the Whitt, and he turned in a performance that would have been perfect for a Hollywood script. In a 4-3 overtime win for the Minutemen – their first victory in Durham since March 2, 2001, and first win of any kind over UNH since March 19, 2004, in the conference semifinals – Anderson scored the second UMass goal of the game after putting a great breakaway move on goalie Kevin Regan and then assisted Chris Capraro’s third-period score.

Neither of those points, however, could light a candle to what he did with 3.4 seconds to play in overtime.

With about 15 seconds left on the clock in the extra frame, Stephen Werner took possession of the puck in the Minutemen zone and started the transition down the ice. He bought some time, lured the defensive pressure towards the right point and then found Anderson with a crisp pass in the high slot.

Anderson then wound up and uncoiled a blistering slap shot that hit the back of the net and caused a wild UMass celebration, which was just a little bit more special for one player.

“It’s always great to get a little bit of redemption, not against the UNH players, but for myself,” Anderson said. “It’s a really satisfying feeling.

“It’s a pretty special time for me, personally. I’ve been through a lot in the past year, physically, mentally, everything. This just about sums it up.”

Werner, who said Anderson put together his best game since suffering the injury, acknowledged that the team had Matt in mind when they walked into the Whitt.

“It’s pretty emotional for all of us, especially Matty,” Werner said. “We all knew it, but we don’t really like talking about it too much. I think everybody, even the freshmen, knew that he was injured in this building his last time here. We were all conscious of it, and that was certainly one of our motivations for getting a win tonight.”

Anderson was able to laugh a bit after the win and said he gave the team a Whittemore Center scouting report after he was resigned to watching last season’s Feb. 11 road matchup in the stands.

“I was talking to the guys before the game and said, ‘Oh yeah, they have really great coffee here,’ because the last time I was here, I was up in the stands drinking coffee,” Anderson joked. “But it was nice getting out on the ice. I didn’t sit in the same spot this time.”

Entering the third period, the Minutemen were holding onto a 2-1 lead, and Anderson’s first goal would have held up as the game-winner if the Wildcats couldn’t muster up any more offense, causing a similar press box atmosphere as if a pitcher were entering the seventh inning with a no-hitter.

Obviously, that didn’t turn out to be the case, but the redshirt junior didn’t let the overtime opportunity pass him by.

UMass coach Don Cahoon said this marked the culmination of Anderson’s long road back from his pair of season-ending injuries.

“I thought that this weekend was very defining for him because that was the Matt Anderson who I remember when he was at his best and doing some great things for us a few years ago,” Cahoon said. “It’s nice to have him back.”


We're Going Streaking! – It’s a good thing that goal judges’ salaries aren’t based on commission, especially the ones manning the nets of Cory Schneider and Joe Fallon.
Though Fallon’s shutout streak came to an end at 158:43 as the result of a Stephen Gionta goal in the second period of UVM’s 2-0 loss at BC on Friday night, his home streak is still standing strong at exactly 245 minutes.

His overall mark of more than 158 minutes, though, did break the school’s 35-year-old record, held by Dave Reece, by about six minutes. Fallon also recorded his 11th career shutout in a 3-0 win over Northeastern on Jan. 14, which broke Tim Thomas’ school record of 10.

Schneider’s shutout streak now stands at 217:49 following three straight blankings of his opposition. Boston College’s all-time mark belongs to Scott Clemmensen, who held his opponents without a goal for 254:23 eight years ago this month. And yes, that’s more than four hours of shutout hockey.

Great Weekend Getaway
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New Hampshire at Providence (Fri.)
Providence is coming off a tough split of a two-game series at Maine, but the Friars have still lost three of their last four games after winning six in a row. The Wildcats were 4-0-1 in a five-game January stretch before losing their wild overtime thriller to UMass on Saturday. UNH's winning ways of late, coupled with PC’s rocky start to the new year, have pulled the Wildcats into a tie with the Friars and Boston University for second place in the conference.

While You’re There: At 2 p.m. on Saturday, the Providence men’s hoops team takes on UConn, the new No. 1 team in the nation, at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Stick Salute

Chris Collins received some heavy praise from a German hockey coach following BC’s 2-0 victory over Vermont on Friday night at Kelley Rink. Before Collins and Cory Schneider were dismissed from the post-game press conference to make way for Jerry York, the German coach broke out his praise for the nation’s leader in goals per game.

“I am a hockey coach from Europe, and this is my first game here to watch BC,” the coach said. “I think Chris would be the perfect player, after the college level, if he were to play over in Europe. With the bigger ice and the quality of your skills, you have the ability to play your position in the highest German league.”

Bench Minor

Referee Jeff Bunyon and his assistants Tim Low and Mike Taddeo were right on top of a couple plays at the Whittemore Center on Saturday night, but seemingly only in physical form. UNH forward Jacob Micflikier trucked UMass goalie Gabe Winer during Joe Charlebois’ first-period score, but the refs upheld goal and the score remained tied, 1-1.

Then, with less than three minutes to play in the game, Brett Hemingway’s pass to Mike Radja clearly deflected off Radja’s skate into the net to tie the game at 3, but Bunyon allowed that goal to stand, too, even though Radja appeared to kick the puck.

If only Joey Porter were on hand for this one…

Schneider can break that mark when the clock reads “3:25” in the second period of Friday night’s game at home against (who else?) Boston University. He is currently 36:34 behind Clemmensen.

Two other shutout streaks of note in Hockey East this season belong to Maine’s Matt Lundin – the second longest of the HEA goalies this season – and Providence’s Tyler Sims, the fourth-longest streak.

Lundin kept his opponents off the board for 161:03 from Oct. 7 through Nov. 6 (which lasted so long because Ben Bishop made six starts in between), and it included shutouts against Alabama-Huntsville and UMass.

Sims’ streak, from Oct. 14 to Oct. 28, ended at 158:09. It included a pair of shutouts over UMass Lowell.


• Some people have already punched Boston College’s tickets to the Frozen Four in Milwaukee, but the Eagles accomplished a small feat that was somewhat of a prerequisite for that over the weekend. By taking four points from Vermont in the two-game series, BC has now locked up a Hockey East playoff spot.

• Vermont’s Jaime Sifers has been named as one of seven finalists for the 2006 Hockey Humanitarian Award, which is given to college hockey’s finest citizen.

Coach Kevin Sneddon’s comments about Sifers on the UVM athletics web site: “Jaime is one of the toughest competitors in college hockey, yet off the ice he is one of hockey’s finest citizens. He has had a major impact on the growth of community service participation during his time at the University of Vermont. This is a tremendous honor for Jaime, his family and the University.”

• How good is Maine’s penalty kill? The Black Bears surrendered three power-play goals to the Friars in two games this weekend, but their 91.9 percent kill rate still ranks tops in the nation.

• BU and BC are set to play their final scheduled game together on Friday night at BC’s Kelley Rink. The teams split a home-and-home on Dec. 2-3, with the Eagles winning 2-1 in their house on Friday night and the Terriers taking a 6-2 game in their barn on Saturday. Boston College has won seven games in a row and is 9-0-1 in its last 10 since that 6-2 defeat at Agganis. Meanwhile, Boston University is also riding a hot streak, winning its last five contests. BU is 7-1-0 since its loss to BC.

• Merrimack has now lost 10 games in a row and is 0-10-2 in its last 12 games, being outscored 50-23 in that stretch. Northeastern ended its eight-game skid with a tie at Lowell on Saturday but is 0-10-4 in its last 14 contests, being outscored 47-24. Collectively, both teams have been outscored 44-12 in January, meaning every Hockey East team (with the exception of Vermont’s nine) has scored more January goals than Northeastern and Merrimack combined.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.